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Shock

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Summary

Shock happens when not enough blood and oxygen can get to your organs and tissues. It causes very low blood pressure and may be life-threatening. It often happens along with a serious injury.

There are several kinds of shock. Hypovolemic shock happens when you lose a lot of blood or fluids. Causes include internal or external bleeding, dehydration, burns, and severe vomiting and/or diarrhea. Septic shock is caused by infections in the bloodstream. A severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock. An insect bite or sting might cause it. Cardiogenic shock happens when the heart cannot pump blood effectively. This may happen after a heart attack. Neurogenic shock is caused by damage to the nervous system.

Symptoms of shock include

  • Confusion or lack of alertness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden and ongoing rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Pale skin
  • A weak pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Decreased or no urine output
  • Cool hands and feet

Shock is a life-threatening medical emergency and it is important to get help right away. Treatment of shock depends on the cause.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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